equivocality — Jeff Ngan's collection of thoughts, experiences, and projects, inspired by pretty much everything
30 Aug 13

not ready to stop

I take care of this moment by tak­ing care of myself. That means nour­ish­ing my sense of well-being by spend­ing time with peo­ple who:

Normally, the goal is to use the pos­i­tive expe­ri­ences from these rela­tion­ships to buffer my emo­tional resilience when things get rough, but right now I’m just try­ing to get to the point most peo­ple con­sider nor­mal.

It helps when peo­ple make me things like this. I had a Google search box as my browser start page for as long as I can remem­ber, until pre­sented with this board full of hap­pi­ness, where every update is rel­e­vant to my inter­ests. Tiana and Genevieve secretly col­lected cats for months before giv­ing it to me just because, and some­how there were 91 fol­low­ers before I even made a Pinterest account to fol­low this name­sake board. These are peo­ple who truly under­stand me, and make me feel con­nected even when I’m not with them. This is what I need more of in my life.

sitting in a cafe

We’ll get there some­day, cuz.

I’ve also been reach­ing into my past and search­ing for clo­sure, whether that means giv­ing or receiv­ing for­give­ness. It’s hum­bling to own up to my role in someone’s pain with­out mak­ing excuses or lay­ing blame to pro­tect my pride, but being able to do so has given me more amour de soi. Mistakes will be made on my jour­ney, but it doesn’t mean I’m a bad per­son, and it won’t stop me from becom­ing better.

Seeking res­o­lu­tion doesn’t always end well though. I’m try­ing to under­stand each response as a mes­sage about the true nature of someone’s role in my life, with­out being caught up in anger. It’s so much eas­ier to for­give or accept some­one when I start to under­stand their real­ity, even if they’ve hurt me rather unde­serv­ingly. I finally feel like I’m get­ting a han­dle on my inter­ac­tions with peo­ple, instead of con­stantly being at the whim of their behaviour.

dog by the door

 

It’s been a period of such tremen­dous growth in myself and devel­op­ment in my rela­tion­ships that it feels like I’ve been given a reprieve. I’ve been work­ing on all the lit­tle things I said I’d take care of when I was bet­ter, one day at a time. Just know­ing that I’m improv­ing in some small way is often enough to keep me going by itself.

I still occa­sion­ally get caught up on the idea that I need to be per­fect before start­ing down a new path, but Lisa always reminds me that the per­son I am already isn’t so bad. Growing is a grad­ual and life­long process. I can do the best with the per­son I am, and that’ll always be good enough.

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25 Nov 09

People Being Nice To Me

Tao Te Ching cover

Louise gave me a gor­geous copy of the Tao Te Ching. It’s trans­lated by James Legge, with clas­sic Chinese art from the Cleveland Museum of Art. What’s espe­cially cool is that the fonts used for the titles is Avenir, which is the same font I used for my sec­ond Tao tat­too.

Tao Te Ching page 1

It’s per­fect because I feel like I’ve strayed from the path lately. It’s been a few weeks since I picked up the book and read a few verses.

Tao Te Ching page 2

I really like the fact that many of the pages have no verses, and only art­work. It’s nice enough that I’ll prob­a­bly keep it out on my cof­fee table, instead of in my book­shelf hid­den in a closet1.

Bamboo bookmark

She also gave me this bam­boo book­mark, with a Confucian say­ing on it. I find it funny because Confucianism opposes Taoism, though they both have very good ideas.

Read the rest of this entry »

  1. Not that I don’t like to dis­play books, I just pre­fer to keep a neat house. []
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03 Jul 09

Tatiana's Gift Basket

Gift basket

More peo­ple need to give me presents like this.

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04 Jun 09

Feather Fountain Pen

Feather fountain pen

Pat and Jen bought me this feather foun­tain pen set from their hon­ey­moon to Europe. It comes from an Italian sculp­ture store, Fabris Giuliana in Venice, Italy.

Feather fountain pen writing

The nib is super fine; I don’t think I’ve ever owned a foun­tain pen with such a small nib, which is per­fect, because I tend to have small hand­writ­ing. You can’t even tell which direc­tion the stroke is going. So far it writes a lit­tle rough and scratchy, but with enough use, the nib will break in to my writ­ing style.

I’ve always enjoyed writ­ing. Not just the con­cept of putting ideas into more a tan­gi­ble medium, but the act of writ­ing itself, whether it’s on a key­board by night, or flow­ing lines on a sheet of paper.

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02 Dec 08

Christmas Wish-List '08

Updated tastes for 2008. Many items from my 2006 and 2007 lists are crossed out, which is why cat­e­gories like “fur­ni­ture” aren’t smaller now.

I’ve been told that I’m noto­ri­ously hard to shop for. Not only am I extremely picky, I have eso­teric (and expen­sive) tastes, and I usu­ally buy — and so, have — the things that I want. This year, I real­ized that good gifts are things peo­ple want, but which they don’t buy for them­selves because they can’t jus­tify the cost. It doesn’t have to be lav­ish, but maybe a lit­tle over­priced, some­thing you wouldn’t nec­es­sar­ily buy for yourself.

Photography

Housewares

Furniture

Gadgets

Games

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16 Nov 08

Birthday Surprises

My friends know I don’t cel­e­brate my birth­day, because I don’t believe in rit­u­als1. I went through most of Thursday with­out any­one men­tion­ing any­thing, aside from Louise call­ing me from the road, remind­ing me that we were going out for lunch the next day — which the three of us do on our birth­days at work.

So when I got home around 9:30 that night — tired and hun­gry after Tai Chi — I was sur­prised to find a let­ter taped to my front door. This let­ter lead to my birth­day game:

Then, before I went to bed, I real­ized I had two phone messages:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (ver­sion 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the lat­est ver­sion here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Hearing Dan and his fam­ily singing was awe­some, but hear­ing my dad’s voice was some­thing else. He had never called to wish me happy birth­day him­self; it was a day only my mom would remem­ber, and she would always pass the phone to him.

It seems like every year I expect noth­ing to hap­pen, but I end up being sur­prised in one way or another.

  1. And this was before I dis­cov­ered Taoism []
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27 Dec 07

Christmas Observer '07

Another Christmas with Shirley and her fam­ily, although this time Bill’s fam­ily came down as well. I spent Christmas Eve night and Christmas day at their house, par­tak­ing in the Christmas expe­ri­ence with those who believe in the impor­tance of such a ritual.

Presents under the tree

We were wrap­ping presents (from “Santa”) until mid­night on Christmas Eve. The tree must have been raised the two feet off the ground to fit every­thing under­neath. Negotiations went on through the night as to what time to wake up, but the kids woke us up at 6:30 any­way. Looking back on the pic­tures of 2005, you can tell how much they’ve grown in just two years.

Loads more pic­tures behind the cut.

Read the rest of this entry »

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16 Dec 07

Christmas Wish-List '07

A look into my cur­rent tastes, updated for 2007. This list is some­what shorter than last years because the ones I haven’t checked off still apply, and I’ve been guilty of some spend­ing this month; The first two sea­sons of Robson Arms on DVD (which I des­per­ately waited two years for), sea­son six of Trailer Park Boys, my mit­tens, a RAZR 2 (the cell phone I’ve had for five years died), an elec­tric tooth­brush, and var­i­ous gifts.

Photography

Furniture

Housewares

Games

Movies/Shows

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13 Nov 07

Present for the 27th

Eric, who used to work with me, intro­duced me to Brant Bjork, and stoner rock in gen­eral, about two years ago. It’s a genre that explores delight­ful rep­e­ti­tion, where vari­a­tions are sub­tle, but pow­er­fully psychedelic.

[I]t is cer­tainly accepted that the effects of mar­i­juana and the often low or psy­che­delic riffs of stoner rock com­ple­ment each other.

—Wikipedia, Stoner rock

I liken the idea to Plastikman’s debut album, Sheet One. Though of a dif­fer­ent genre — trance — it fea­tures a per­fo­rated album cover, an homage to acid tab art, for which the LSD enhances the details of every sin­gle min­i­mal­is­tic beat (so I’m told).

While I’ve enjoyed Queens of the Stone Age, who are con­sid­ered to be influ­enced by the stoner rock move­ment (indeed, Josh Homme and Brant Bjork formed pio­neer­ing band Kyuss while in high school), the sound is a lit­tle more com­mer­cial, less droning.

After I heard a few songs by Brant Bjork, I was hooked. I never asso­ci­ated it with a mem­ory, which is what I do with almost all my songs, but it was good enough that I didn’t have to.

At Thanksgiving, dur­ing one of my trips through the mall with Andrew and Alex, I resumed my search for Brant Bjork’s solo album by the name of Jalamanta. It was a big­ger city, a big­ger place…maybe I’d have a bet­ter luck. Unfortunately, every music store gave me the same answer; it was an album they didn’t keep reg­u­larly in stock.

Alex asked me what I was look­ing for, the name of the album and artist, and I didn’t think any­thing of it.

Thumbnail: Brant Bjork

Yesterday, I found a pack­age in the mail. Fragile — CD, it said. Inside was the Brant Bjork CD I’ve been look­ing for, which they found at an inde­pen­dent music store. Along with the CD was a card made from my Pollen Junkie photo (which was taken in their gar­den), with a mes­sage writ­ten on the back.

And as great as it is to finally hear the songs I’ve been miss­ing, as nice as it is to have an orig­i­nal release, it’s noth­ing com­pared to the thought­ful­ness, the effort they made to find me exactly what I was look­ing for.

Update: Julie bought me a lucky bam­boo plant, along with a vase filled with dec­o­ra­tive rocks and a cute hand-drawn card. Very, very nice! Definitely an effort spent acquir­ing all these things, and much appreciated.

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